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Targus Mobile Docking Station with Ethernet
The $99 Targus Mobile Docking Station with Ethernet provides the bare minimum of extra ports and works with any notebook equipped with a USB connection, which is almost all of them. There's not enough here to please power users, but the Mobile Docking Station will make it a bit easier to plug in when you get home or give your notebook a modicum of additional connectivity. Weighing just 12 ounces (including its AC adapter), it's certainly portable enough for travel. If you don't need a LAN connection, Targus sells an even more scaled-down model for only $79.
The approximate size and shape of a blackboard eraser, the Mobile Docking Station has a 2-foot USB cable that connects to your notebook. It's nice that you can fold up and stash the USB cord within the body of the Mobile Docking Station, but we wish Targus had incorporated a retractable cable instead. Before getting started, youÂ’ll need to install software from the included mini CD; it takes no more than 3 minutes, but this is the only dock we tested that required additional software.
Once connected, the Mobile Docking Station gives you two USB 2.0 ports, as well as serial, parallel, Ethernet, and a pair of PS/2 connections; it lacks a DVI and modem link. The unit features eight LEDs that light up when the USB hub is linked, when network data is moving, and when each individual port is activated.
Similar to a power strip that gives you more sockets, the Mobile Docking Station is more of a port replicator than a docking station. It won't tilt the notebook or provide a stand for the screen; if that's what you're looking for, try the Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 or a simple laptop stand.
The Mobile Docking Station is able to move data like molasses on a cold morning; it read and wrote files at 51.5Mbps, earning the distinction of the slowest system we've tested. Targus backs the Mobile Docking Station with a generous two-year warranty, second only to IBM's three years of coverage for its X4 UltraBase. Unfortunately, Targus fails to deliver much in the way of specific support for the dock--you can download the latest driver pack and the manual from the company's support site, but that's about it. Targus' toll-free tech support is available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT, and you're welcome to send questions anytime via e-mail.